Bide your time like a goose that waits for corn

Husy, photo: Barbora Kmentová

You’re listening to SoundCzech – Radio Prague’s weekly programme in which you can learn Czech idioms with the help of songs. Today we’ll be listening to a song from the 1960s called “Chybí mi ta jistota“ or “I can’t be sure” by the legendary duo Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr, the protagonists of the Semafor theatre. Today’s featured phrase is “dočkej času jako husa klasu“.

The singer’s girlfriend has dyed her hair dark and now he is unable to tell her from other dark-haired women. So he greets all girls with dark hair and waits if he can recognise the voice of his girlfriend, biding his time. Dočkávaje času jako husa klasu. Word for word this phrase means “biding his time just like a goose waits for ears of corn”. Husa means a goose, klas is an ear of corn.

The phrase is usually addressed to someone impatient. “Dočkej času jako husa klasu”. Bide your time, like geese wait for ripe corn. In the song, the verb in the phrase is used in the transgressive, which is a rather archaic form, and means biding one’s time, waiting. Usually, the phrase is used in the imperative – Dočkej. There are other Czech sayings calling on people to be patient. For example trpělivost růže přináší– patience brings roses. Or Kdo si počká, ten se dočká. He who waits, lives to see the results. Another phrase using the verb čekat but with a different meaning is Jen počkej!– Just you wait!

While the singer is biding his time like a goose that waits for corn, dočkává času jako husa klasu, we have learnt a new phrase. There will be another expression for you next week, dočkejte času jako husa klasu. Na shledanou.